In hopes of the galley countertop project being competed today, we’ve decided to move back onboard our floating home after five months of living on land even though the cabin is a total wreck (see Galley sink and countertop refit). Lisa tried to look at the bright side and commented, “At least I don’t feel like a fish out of water anymore.”
With views like this (see photo above), we are having a hard time tearing ourselves away from Gaeta. It doesn’t help that we are both just recovering from a cold/cough which has slowed progress on our pre-departure preparations. The list is progressively getting shorter, and we are planning to depart here by the end of the month. The first trickle of cruising sailboats have been passing through the area, reminding us of all the places we would like to visit this season: Southern Italy and Sicily (May-June), Tunisia and Malta (July-August), Greece (Sept) and Turkey (Oct).
Happy Vernal (Spring) Equinox! Today we’re actually hunkered down in the cabin of Gyatso riding out a gale in the safety of the marina. After more than a week of mostly wonderful, sunny weather, a low pressure system developed over Sardinia yesterday and moved easterly toward mainland Italy. Just after midnight last night, the front began moving through with hail, lightening, heavy rain and high winds. Winds of 25-30 knots, with higher gusts, continue today, making it difficult to get off the boat and onto the dock. Luckily, we had left-overs from our St. Patrick’s Day dinner the other night which became sandwiches for dinner last night and soup for lunch today. At least we are getting a much-needed break from varnishing exterior brightwork — still hoping to apply one or two more coats before removing the blue masking tape.
It’s raining again this morning in Gaeta. Since our return ten days ago, we have found this to be a common occurrence at this time of year. So are winter storms and the surge they bring into our small, protected harbor. Yesterday, we took advantage of a break in the clouds and walked around the old part of the city, winding our way through the narrow alleys and stonewall-lined switchbacks past old churches dedicated to Saints like Giovanni a Mare and Caterina to the base of the Castello Angioino-Aragonese. From there, we wound our way back down the hill, pausing at an overlook and admiring the large swells crashing into the cliffs at the base of the castle.
The leftovers from our Thanksgiving meal yesterday were almost as good as the meal itself. Lisa cooked up a storm all day after a busy day of “hunting and gathering” on Wednesday which included stops to the weekly market, her favorite bakery, the butcher shop, and PAM supermercado. It seemed as if half the town was involved in the pre-turkey day meal preparation. Natalina, the butcher’s wife, carefully prepared the turkey leg and breast and wanted to know all about how Lisa was going to cook the meal on her boat. She asked Lucia from the jewelry shop across from her on via Indipendenza, to translate for us. We laughed and snapped photos, clowning around with the turkey leg when Lucia instructed, “Show us some Leg!” Natalina actually pulled up her apron! After Lisa explained how the meal was going to be prepared and what was on the menu, Natalina exclaimed, “Mama Mia!” We delivered slices of pumpkin pie to several of the shopkeepers today — it was easier than having everyone on board.
Another Thanksgiving feast aboard Gyatso — our third since setting sail in 2005. We almost didn’t do it this year, but when another American pulled into the marina last week, our plans changed. Jayne arrived at Base Nautica, her winter port, with Aorangi, her lovely S&S Swan 47. She had to return to her home in Tuscany for a few days but didn’t have plans for Thanksgiving, so we all decided to celebrate together. Preparations began immediately (see 11/23/08 logbook entry). As you can see from the photo, we had a wonderful time drinking wine, eating turkey and pumpkin pie, and getting better acquainted with Jayne who runs a captained charter business with her boat.